Ever get a feeling you have seen something before? History does not repeat itself?
Frank Solich took over the Nebraska Cornhuskers head coaching job before the 1998 season when Legendary Nebraska coach Dr Tom Osborne retired after winning 3 national championships.
Solich had been a Nebraska assistant under Osborne and was a natural choice to take over the head spot. Solich had been an assistant for Osborne from 1979 until 1997. Osborne himself, had a similar start working his way up the Nebraska ladder from 1964 up until 1972 for former Nebraska coach Bob Devaney.
Solich had even played for Nebraska and was recruited by Bob Devaney himself in his first recruiting class.
Solich put in the time and was a class act as a person, and as a player and as a coach.
His teams at Nebraska went 58-19 in his 6 years as head coach at Nebraska. Most people and programs would kill for that record on the football field, but not Nebraska.
Frank Solich started off with a 9-4 record which wasn’t great, but his second season, 1999, Solich took the Huskers to a 12-1 record and a final ranking of #2 in the coaches poll and #3 in the AP poll.
Since joining the Big 12, Nebraska had little success against Big 12 South opponent, Texas, and the Longhorns ruined the Cornhuskers chances to possibly play Florida State for the National Championship.
Solich and his Huskers went 10-2 in the 2000 season and 11-2 in the 2001 season losing to one of the great college teams of all time the 2001 version of the Miami Hurricanes. The Huskers Quarterback Eric Crouch won the Heisman Trophy and they were one of the more explosive teams in the country even though they did not even win the Big 12 Conference Championship.
A negative fact about the Huskers in 2001, other than losing the National Championship to Miami. They were beaten down by long time Big 8 and Big 12 nemesis Colorado 62-36. That was a bitter pill for Husker fans to swallow.
The following season of 2002 was even tougher for the Cornhuskers and their fan base. They went 7-7 and even lost to a very average Ole Miss in the Independence Bowl.
The Huskers bounced back big in 2003 going 9-3, but losses to Missouri, Kansas State and hated Texas were too much and Frank Solich was fired.
The Nebraska Cornhuskers found out a tough lesson that year, but apparently they have already forgotten.
Nebraska was turned down by quite a few coaches before settling on Bill Callahan who had a terrible career in Lincoln. Callahan had taken the Oakland Raiders to the Super Bowl in 2002, but Al Davis fired him after the 2003 season when he led the Raiders to a 4-12 season.
Callahan was not up to Nebraska standards from day one, but what coach wants a job at a school where they fire the coach after winning 9 games. Bill Callahan was one of the few coaches out there willing to take a job at Nebraska.
He finished his first season at 5-6 which is unheard of at Nebraska. 2005 was slightly better for the Huskers with the team finishing at 8-4. In 2006, the Huskers went 9-5 and then 5-7 in 2007 was the final straw.
Callahan was fired and current coach Bo Pelini was hired to take over.
Pelini started off fairly strongly for the Cornhuskers going 9-4 his first season in 2008 and then 10-4 the next 2 seasons.
In 2011, Pelini’s Huskers won 9 games again sporting a 9-4 record. 10-4 in 2012 saw the Huskers win the Legends division of the Big 10. They were 9-4 in 2013 and then 9-3 this season before Bo Pelini was fired by the Cornhuskers.
Pelini’s worst record in Lincoln, Nebraska was 9-4. His total record for the Nebraska Cornhuskers was 62-27.
He never had a losing record in 7 years.
So, please tell this college football fan and blogger who is going to want a job at a school that fires a coach for going 9-4. I don’t believe they will have many takers unless they are willing to shell out more money than any other schools out there and that’s not going to happen.
I would also like to remind anyone that happens to read this that Tom Osborne had many, many 9-3 seasons before he won anything. He coached the Nebraska Cornhuskers for 21 years before he won a national championship. In 6 out of his first 9 seasons, Osborne did no better than Bo Pelini winning only 9 games.
I am a college football fan and I like to watch good football and I don’t blame the Huskers for wanting to dominate the Big 10. But, I just don’t believe they will have a lot of interest in coaches wanting to take over a football program with such little job security.
I wish them well, but feel they have made another post Tom Osborne mistake.
The next coach needs to learn what took Osborne nearly 20 years to figure out. You can win with Nebraska players sprinkled in with speed from the South. Once Osborne added speed like the Miami and Florida State teams that were beating him in Bowl games, the Huskers were dominating. Nebraska produces outstanding linemen but they need to recruit the Southern states for speed.
Some names being thrown around include former Nebraska Quarterback Scott Frost, an assistant at Oregon and former Nebraska Defensive Back Craig Bohl who is in his first season at Wyoming. Throw in Memphis head coach Justin Fuente who has turned that program around quickly and is being mentioned with most jobs right now.
Whether any of these guys will be brave enough to take a job at a school that fires 9-3 coaches remains to be seen.